ANGUL: Expressing satisfaction with the performance of Mahanadi Coalfields Limited, Union Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal asked the company authorities to produce more to meet the growing needs of the nation. “Notwithstanding the bottlenecks, both Coal India Limited (CIL) and MCL will not only reach the annual target of 464 MT and 117 MT respectively but will also exceed it,” he said.
Jaiswal accompanied by Additional Secretary of Coal, Zohri Chatterjee and Coal India Chairman S Narasing Rao, visited Talcher coalfields, one of the major coalfields in CIL, and held discussions with MCL Chief AN Sahay and his team of officials here on Friday.
He also held talks with trade union leaders Sriballav Panigrahi, Prafulla Pradhan, Ananta Patra, Srinibash Rao, Badal Maharana and Anit Chakravarty. Sambalpur MP Amar Pradhan and local MLA Braja Kishore Pradhan also called on the Minister.
Addressing mediapersons here, Jaiswal said his Government’s thrust is on producing more coal by CIL and by roping in private companies.
“Unlike petroleum products we have coal reserves for 100 years, if we can utilise it then we can give our people power at cheaper rates instead of resorting to high cost import of coal. Besides CIL, we have allotted coal blocks to non-CIL companies out of which 50 per cent belong to different state governments,” Jaiswal said.
The Centre has taken serious note of the non-serious allotees of blocks and is taking necessary actions against them, the Minister informed. Jaiswal asked MCL authorities to start construction of the proposed 500-bed medical college, which would be a mini AIIMS, after obtaining environmental clearance on a patch of forest land that it requires.
The Minister also asked MCL to pay its contract workers wages as per State Government rates and diwali allowance of Rs 1,000 to the left out contract workers by this month end.
MCL Directors AK Singh, AK Tiwari, SC Padhy and Kulamani Biswal were also present.
BJP Workers Detained
Police on Friday arrested more than 50 BJP workers including the district general secretary Kalandi Samal for blocking the way of Jaiswal to MCL office.
The agitating workers squatted in front of the main gate of the chief general manager of Jagannath area here protesting the Minister’s visit alleging his involvement in the coal scam.
They also demanded for a medical college and separate coal company at Talcher besides proper rehabilitation of land losers. They were later released.